These Strawberry Custard Tartlets are the perfect way to celebrate summer. Lemon-y tart shells filled with creamy custard and topped with fresh strawberries and mint leaves!
I’ve been MIA for two weeks. Those of you who follow Yummy Addiction closely know that it’s not the first time I disappear and there is nothing shocking in it but this time the reason was purely blog related. I wasn’t warming my butt in the sun (maybe I would but it’s raining non-stop here); I was hustlin’ hard.
Ok, so what’s the deal? Nothing too groundbreaking but I decided to move to eating seasonally and locally. With that in mind, I also decided to change the style of my photography. It will be more moody, minimalistic, you’ll see. Not in this post. A little bit later. You might have also probably noticed Yummy Addiction’s brand new look. YUP. A total renaissance!
Why all the changes? Well, I was thinking about seasonal eating for the last year or so. The idea of cutting off pesticide-laden veggies and fruit and choosing fresh juicy production from local farms at its peak instead was growing on me every single day. I will still be getting bananas, avocados, watermelons, and other fruit and vegetables not grown in my country, though. Except I’ll try to get them organic if they will be available + imported stuff also has seasons when it’s best at.
Not only plants, by the way. We talk about meat here too. Free-range chicken, grass-fed beef. Also free range chicken eggs, milk from cows that get to go outside and eat grass. Everything farmer’s market can offer.
The change became imminent after I finished Michael Pollan’s bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A truly eye-opening book on what kind of food supermarkets offer us nowadays (a little hint – AWFUL) and where it comes from. I highly recommend this book to everyone who cares about stuff they swallow.
What are advantages of eating seasonally and locally?
- It saves a buck. The food which is in season will always be cheaper because there is an abundance of it at the moment. That’s how economics work.
- The food is more delicious. Compare tomatoes in the summer with those plastic flavorless red things in the winter. Or almost any other inhabitant of a produce aisle of a supermarket.
- It’s healthier. Fruit and veggies shipped from overseas are picked before they are ripe to survive the trip + they lose vital nutrients on their way to grocery stores. Meat purchased in farmers’ markets is also usually healthier because in most cases it’s pastured, organic, and antibiotics-free.
- You support local farmers. When you shop at farmers’ markets or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) you put money back into your local economy.
- You broaden your diet. By choosing foods based on the season you will try more vegetables and fruit that don’t get enough attention from grocery stores (turnips, parsnips, anyone?) and eat a more balanced diet. Variety rocks! The best way is to join CSA and get a box packed with produce delivered to your door every week or so. This way you will be forced to use all the perishables you got and cook something new. It’s a fun way to challenge yourself!
- Last but not least, it’s better for the environment. The fact that seasonal food is available locally means no need for transportation from another part of the country / world and this means less fuel used and less pollution caused.
It’s funny that seasonal eating is considered “a trend” lately even though that’s how our grandparents lived not such a long time ago. I don’t want to sound like an old lady (I am actually super progressive) but how we managed to mess up so bad with all the antibiotic-fueled meats, pesticide-covered produce, and foods made of ingredients we don’t even know the meaning of ending up on supermarket shelves? Crazy world.
I always tried to eat healthier to a certain degree and loved walking around the farmers’ markets but you could still find strawberry recipes made in February on Yummy Addiction. No more of that! From now on it will be “right food, right place, right time” citing Nigel Slater whose books I am devouring right now.
Today it’s Strawberry Custard Tartlets!
There is no other berry / fruit / vegetable that symbolizes summer better than strawberry. At least to me. Ripe, tender, melting in your mouth, sweet, fragrant berries are a true delight to enjoy on a sunny summer day. With some cream or milk but even better on their own, I can make a few pounds disappear like they never existed.
Today it’s not easy to find perfect strawberries. The industry has managed to mess up even these precious berries. Seeking a longer shelf life, big businesses are more interested in tougher flavorless species so that’s exactly what we find in grocery stores. Personally, I just can’t enjoy them because I know and my taste buds remember how a REAL sweet strawberry tastes like.
Bad news aside, there is still possible to find heavenly tasting berries out there. Farmers’ markets are the answer. Even there only every second batch I got was full of flavor. Oh well, it’s still better than nothing.
These strawberry custard tartlets, by the way, differ from other ones you might have tasted or seen on Pinterest or anywhere else. The custard here is baked so it’s more dense and I love it. I got the idea from one local magazine. I hope you will love these little guys too!
Strawberry Custard Tartlets
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (170g) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch ground nutmeg
- about 1 lb (450g) strawberries , sliced
- fresh mint , for garnish
- Place the flour, salt, butter, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ice water and heavy cream, and process until moist clumps form.
- Gather the dough into a ball and knead it for a minute on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 6 equal parts and roll into balls. Transfer the balls to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- On a floured surface, working with one ball at a time, roll the dough ball into a disk larger than your tart tins. Line the tin with the dough: on the base and up the sides. Trim the excess and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate and repeat with the remaining dough balls.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Remove the shells from a refrigerator and line each with aluminum foil. Fill them with pie weights or uncooked rice, beans, etc. Bake until the pastry begins to turn light brown, for about 10-12 minutes. Discard the weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the custard by beating the egg together with brown sugar. Stir in the milk, cream, and vanilla.
- Pour the custard into the tart shells. Sprinkle with the ground nutmeg. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F (175 C) and bake the tartlets for another 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Then, transfer to a fridge for another 1-2 hours to cool completely.
- Arrange the strawberry slices on top and garnish with the fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!
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